Eddie Daniels: ‘With Courage, For Justice’: Overcoming Apartheid in South Africa


‘With Courage, For Justice’: Overcoming Apartheid in South Africa

Monday, October 3rd, 2011
Herter Hall 301, UMass

ISHA is delighted to host Eddie Daniels, noted South African anti-apartheid activist and former political prisoner. Please join us to hear his compelling and inspiring story, as well as his particular perspectives on the struggle for justice in South Africa. Mr Daniels will be introduced by Dr Marcellette Williams, Senior Vice-President of the University of Massachusetts.

Eddie Daniels grew up in Cape Town in the ‘coloured’ area of District 6, later bulldozed by the apartheid government of South Africa. He worked as a whaler, a miner, and photographer, and then, because of his growing sense of the injustices around him, joined the Liberal Party, at that stage the only legal nonracial political party in South Africa. As repressive conditions in South Africa intensified, he became a member of the African Resistance Movement, which initiated a campaign of sabotage against government utilities shortly before the African National Congress did the same. Arrested in 1964, he served a fifteen-year sentence on Robben Island, alongside other notable political prisoners such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and Ahmed Kathrada. Later, Mandela remarked of him, ‘We recall his loyalty and courage; his sense of humour and justice as well as total commitment to the struggle of the prisoners for the eradication of injustice and for the betterment of their conditions.’ Daniels’s story is also very much a personal one. Having married his wife Eleanor in defiance of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act which barred interracial unions, they married again for a second time in 1990 when the law was repealed. On 11 February of that year, Eddie and Eleanor were among the 100,000 others who celebrated Mandela’s release on the Grand Parade in Cape Town.

Eddie Daniels is also the author of a memoir, There & Back: Robben Island 1964-1979, and copies will be available at the talk.